San Marzano Sauce with Peppers

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San Marzano Tomato Sauce with Peppers - Andrea Meyers

A few days before we left for vacation, I picked five pounds of San Marzano tomatoes and a dozen bell peppers from our garden and had to do something with them fast. I had planned all along to turn those beautiful tomatoes into sauce, but now that the task was at hand and I only had a few short hours, I knew this would have to be a quick and easy freezer sauce.

This sauce is inspired by a couple recipes from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan, my go-to book for Italian cooking. We used all five pound of the San Marzanos (which I forgot to photograph before chopping), six bell peppers, a whole head of garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and tossed in some fresh basil from the garden at the end. The recipe made about three quarts/litres of sauce, and we froze two of them. You can use Roma tomatoes instead, though they have a lot more juices. If you want to limit the juices, try seeding the Romas before cutting into small pieces. Many sauce recipes call for blanching the tomatoes and removing the skins, but we never bother with it.

As fortune would have it, we’re glad we hurried and made the sauce before vacation because when we returned we discovered some animal had been eating away at the ripe San Marzanos and leaving the half-eaten tomatoes lying on the ground under the plants. Heartbreaking, truly. At least we still had some green San Marzanos, and to increase chances of survival we purchased a garden net and carefully wrapped it around the plants. Fortunately that has kept the critters away and our tomatoes are thriving again.

Grow Your Own logo, seeds, greenThis is my contribution to Grow Your Own, a blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we’ve grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. Our host for this round is Wiffy of Noob Cook, so visit her blog for more information on how to participate. Entries are due September 15.

[Updated August 20, 2011.]


Inspired by Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan.


6-quart pot with lid


5 pounds (~2.3 k) San Marzano tomatoes, cut into small pieces
6 bell peppers, cut into small pieces
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup (~120 mil) olive oil
1s2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup (~20 g) torn fresh basil


1. Put all the tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in the pot. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the oil floats free from the tomatoes.

2. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the torn basil. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pasta. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days and up to 3 months in the freezer.


Skinless seeded tomatoes: Blanch them first and then peel. Cut out the stem, then cut a little X on the bottom of the tomato. Put into boiling water for about 1 minute, then remove quickly. Put into a cold water bath. When the tomatoes have cooled, peel the skin away starting at the X. To seed the tomato, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. The tomatoes are now ready for the sauce.

More Tomato Recipes

No-Cook Tomato Sauce Macaroni and Cheese with Gruyere and Tomatoes Andrea's Recipes - Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup

More Tomato Recipes from Around the Blogs

The Perfect Pantry – Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Simply Recipes – Homemade Tomato Juice

Matt Bites – Tomato & Zucchini Gratin

Laylita’s Recipes – Eggplant and Tomato Appetizer

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. says

    thanks for the recipe – next weekend, I am going to pick up a couple 20# boxes of San Marzano tomatoes from my CSA, and this is exactly the kind of recipe I was looking for. Last year, I canned the tomatoes into quart jars, but this year I would like to get ahead of the game and make sauce straight away. This is also a great reason to get the chest freezer I have been dreaming about!

    Gudruns last blog post..Slow food, pickles a plenty

  2. says

    I received your entry, thanks 😉 What a superb dish … I love it that ALL the main ingredients (basil, tomatoes, bell peppers) are fresh from the garden!~ I wish we have this species of tomatoes in Singapore!

  3. says

    This sounds delicious. There is nothing more refreshingly simple than a tomato sauce prepared with a short list of garden-fresh ingredients. I love what you are doing with your Grow Your Own site – I look forward to contributing.

  4. says

    MyKitchenInHalfCups, I rarely peel vegetables for anything. A good scrubbing is usually sufficient for us.
    Usha, thanks. We enjoyed the peppers.
    Gudrun, a #20 pound box of San Marzanos sounds like a slice of heaven to me. Have fun making sauce!
    Noobcook, thanks for hosting!
    Lynda, thanks! I look forward to your entries.

  5. says

    I’m not sure how I found your blog (!), but I have really enjoyed reading it and what a great idea for a contest. I only grow herbs, but a friend does this big time & it is a delight to sample their fresh produce.

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